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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 20, 2014 11:00pm-1:01am EDT

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that. >> sure. >> one piece of your question, i think, was about surprise that we did not anticipate this to your point about planning. some of you, senator gram, senator blunt, members of the -- senator reed -- of the armed services committee may recall, the director of our defense intelligence agency general flynce testified before the armed service committee in february. in that testimony, he said that it is likely that specifical, isil may well take territory in iraq or attempt to take territory in iraq. that doesn't negate why weren't you prepared? why didn't you know about it? the other part of it is and i think it goes back to what general dempsey was talking about, i think we were surprised that the iraqi divisions the
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ones that general dempsey talked about, just threw down their weapons. we had -- obviously as general dempsey said, are always working options and scenarios but -- and we knew isil for the reasons general dempsey talked about, has been a threat in syria and elsewhere. so, again, i go back to we can only do so much. we didn't have a presence in iraq as you know for the very reason you mentioned because the iraqis would not give us the immunity in what we needed to get in sofa. i think all of those are parts of the answers to your questi s questions, sir. >> would you agree with the secretary that the current situation in iraq is in our national economic and security interest? >> oh, i do agree if for no other reason than oil. i mean, you mention energy and
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oil. it's a region issue, i believe that. so the ripple effect of what's going on there, everywhere -- >> given that, do you think that we therefore should have some response other than no response at least to this point? >> well, i don't think it's a matter of no response. >> no response that's making a difference. >> well, i'm not sure of that but i would give you the same response that general dempsey did. the president is meeting with congressional leadership this afternoon. >> do you think it's too late? we've already lost the territory. they've already gained the control of the second largest city in iraq that we lost blood and treasure and people lost limbs and died to save. we've already lost it so it's like crimea. do we just say, okaokay, that's done. >> senator. we didn't lose anything. the iraqi government. >> well, it's in our national interest we lost something. >> well, you could say that
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about a lot of things. i think we ought to be clear, it wasn't the united states who lost anything, we turned a pretty significant situation over as you noted for the very reasons you noted, to the iraqi people when we phased out of our military involvement in iraq. so we have done everything we could to help them. it's up to the iraqis. we wanted to manage and govern their own country. so i don't think we should assign the blame to the united states for this. i think we go back to who is responsible for this? isil, they invaded but also this current government in iraq has never fulfilled the commitments it made to bring a unit government together with the sunnis, the kurds and the shia. we have worked hard with them within the confines of our ability to help them do that but we can't dictate to them.
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>> well, yeah. my time is up and i'll yield it back. i simply want to say that there have been many situations in the history of this country that have been in our national interest both economically and strategically and we haven't punted on some of those simply because the country where it was taking place didn't step up. i think a lot of countries look to american leadership. i'm not advocating any specific military action but they are looking to leadership in terms -- they'd like to know that somebody has got their back. i think it might have been easier for those soldiers have been easier to shed their uniforms and run because they didn't have anybody who had their back. so basically state just because the country didn't deliver what we wanted them to deliver, it's something that's in our national security interest that we take a pass or wait too long until it's too late, i don't think is the
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kind of answer we want to get. >> well, when we're not there, we're not there. i don't know what you would have expected the united states to do. >> i would hope we could get somewhere. >> well, we are. that's what we've been doing the last week and the president will talk to leaders of congress. we've been briefing by the way in classified briefings the last few days, members of congress. >> i think it would be good if the president could talk to congress and the american people and let us know where we are. thank you. >> senator reed. >> thank you mr. chairman. with respect briefly to iraq, it is a state department operation basically because they run the embassy and -- but in the context of sencon particularly, have we been communicating to maliki and to his military questions about their capacity and willingness and effective
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leadership. have we made it clear in conjunction with general flynn's testimony that there were real threats they faced and they had to make adjustments. is that something that was done? >> senator, absolutely. when the syria issue began to manifest itself. i actually stopped in baghdad personally and met with the most senior leaders of their government and military. described what -- they were all of course worried about the syria. what's going to come into syria to effect us? i think that's the wrong question. the question is how will you take this opportunity, that is to say a perceived threat to your country from outside, and use it as an opportunity to actually coalesce -- bring your government, your people together on the basis of that common threat? that was a year ago.
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in that year, the behavior was for the most part exactly counter to what you would try to do if you were trying to bring your people together. changing military leadership. cronyism. all forms of sectarianism that have led us to where we are today. >> but have you through general austin or others, communicated consistently the operational consequences of these political decisions that they are in danger endangering their own security. >> frequently. >> and response by both the civilian and military authorities has been sort of indifference. >> i would describe the response as a volume of conspiracy theories. >> turning to the present moment, maliki -- we've all -- many of us have had the occasion to meet with him numerous times
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and at least in one moment in the history, he surprised a lot of us by taking very aggressive action in boser in 2008 where he was able to go after elements that -- you know, everyone thought were untouchable. in fact, he was ahead of or own commanders in terms of taking the offensive. at this moment, is it your sort of impression that he understands that this is an ex-astent shal moment for him and his country and that he's willing to start doing things that will stop the momentum and reverse the tide and -- >> senator, i don't know. ambassador beecroft is in the country trying to understand exactly how maliki is thinking about that situation. that question would be better passed to the state department. >> final question. just the beverage that we had, given the fact that we were
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trying to communicate serious concerns about their military capabilities, not so much because of the training of the individual soldiers or the equipment they had. that seemed to be quite ad akwet. it was just at the leadership and political direction of the military forces, do we think we've done enough in that regard or tried enough or hit the right buttons? >> well, i mean clearly we will look back on this and do what we always do, be introspective in doing after action review and use the results to change the way we build partners. i should mention by the way although the two divisions in the north kpacollapsed as well the police unit, there are still multiconfessional units of the iraqi armed forces standing and defending baghdad.
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multiconfessional. this hasn't broken down all the way on sectarian lines but it could. >> just very quickly. that's to the persistent ubiquitous and emerging present threat of cyber at the level of national sort of war gaming. are you comfortable, mr., secretary, that you are doing enough of the planning and gaming and assuming all of the new technology that's come on line as in response to the question about crimea. one of the things the russians did was cleverly employ cyber operations as an adjunct to the battle plan. with respect to this issue of war planning, are you activity engaging the war colleges and senior military institutions in this sort of d level secretary of defense level sort of what's
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coming. what's the worst case? are we ready or where are the gaps? senator on your first question, it is one of the areas of our budget that we have requested an increase, cyber. i think it's $5.1 billion to get our capability up quickly. move it to around 6,000 employees. we've put a high, high priority on this for the last two years for the obvious seasons. am i confident we're doing enough? i'm confident that we're doing everything we need to be doing but we're constantly reassessing that, senator. i don't think anyone can ever be too confident because there are surprises all the time. we recognize what's out there. we recognize the technology that is moving so rapidly. the threat that's are clear to this country, to the world. we are working inner agency with
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all the appropriate assets and tools we have to bring together the coordinated value added to your question about war college and other outside units, interesting enterprises. to get their best advice, absolutely because we don't think we are alone in the reposatory for all of this. this is as high a priority overall as we have. >> thank you. just one comment. i want to thank secretary hill for your service. secretary mcord has been confirmed. thank you very much. in our initial discussion, we were in a curious situation as we were trying to warn them and they weren't listening. i think the leverage -- the only leverage we had would have been simply to sort of pull support back which might have even made the situation worse. so this is, again, i think, something that we realized many
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years ago, there's no good answer there but it's a very -- i have to tiell you, it's a ver disturbing situation at the moment. thank you. >> senator gram, make sure in your last appearance you get to speak. as you depart, would you advise the congress and the administration to deal with a growing personnel costs because without some personnel reforms, it would be hard to maintain the budget. >> i appreciate an easy question, senator. the answer is absolutely question as the chairman and secretary have said we need to deal with it. >> because it's about 50% of our costs. >> right. >> and we're talking about in the future retirement reforms, looking at care and trying to be owe rational in terms of cost sharing. >> we are waiting for the commission but we try we have in
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tricare area, a good proposal that most of the savings frankly don't come out of the pockets of the troops. >> to my colleagues, i hope we will listen to what mr. hill says and try to stabilize the budget. now, to iraq. is it possible, general dempsey to stop isis without u.s. air power? >> isil, isis, whatever we call them, they are -- >> the people that al qaeda kicked out. >> or who broke contact because they are more radical than al qaeda. >> yeah, yeah. these people. >> right. i suspect -- well first of all we have a request from the iraqi government for air power. >> we do. >> we do. >> do we think it's in our national security interest to honor that question. >> it is in our national security interest to counter isil wherever we find them. >> fair statement but -- because i want the american people to
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understand that there's a lot at stake for us, right secretary hagel. >> there's a lot at stake for us, the region, consequences . if iraq falls and iran dominates the south and this group, isis owns the sunni territory all the way to baghdad, kurdist a, n breaks away. that would create economic instability in the region and would affect us at home. is that fair. >> i don't know what outcome that would be if that occurred, senator. all i can tell you is what we are looking to provide to the president -- >> well the economy of iraq would collapse. >> well, i think that's right. if they lose their oil -- >> that's right. if isis has assets from alepo to baghdad. they are rich. the country we know as iraq financially collapses. don't you think that would affect the region in the energy
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process. iraq matters. >> it does. also, you know. you've been there many times, the southern part of iraq possesses a tremendous amount of ji . >> if iranians dominate, i think the whole world suffers particularly. we will get hit in the wallet. isis, they vow to attack the united states. is that fair to say? >> there is open source reporting that they -- although currently a regional threat, they do have aspirations to attack western interests. >> if they have a safe haven in syria and iraq and operate from alepo to baghdad with impunity, that's a bad scenario, is that true. >> that is a high risk scenario gee to our home land being attacked by this group. >> overtime. not at this time but overtime. >> i would say that the director -- the head of this group was a former gitmo -- camp
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buko detainee, is that correct. >> correct. >> i know the people did a very good job on the ground, general stone and others. he has reported when they turned baghd baghdady that he said that i will see you in new york. >> i haven't heard that, senator. >> i'm just telling the american people it is in our national security interest not to give these guys safe haven in syria and iraq because the next 9/heav9 9/heav9/11 come from that region. is that an overstatement or is that an area of possibility. >> as i have said in other celtings. there are several groups. the al qaeda ideology has spread. several of the groups are more dangerous than others. >> would you put this at the top? >> i think at this point in time i would probably keep al qaeda
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in yemen and the iranian peninsula at the top. if he said it and he is assessing that it's there now than i would agree with him. >> does that make sense to you? >> it makes sense that they will be a threat to the home land in time. >> perfect. iran is on the ground, senator -- secretary hagel in iraq? >> iran has been in iraq for many years. >> right so the reality is iran is on the ground. do they have influence over shia militia, the iranians. >> i'm sure they do. >> are you worried about force protection. we have thousands of americans trapped inside of iraq. are you worried about that? >> i am. >> are you worried about another benghazi on steroids if we don't watch it. >> well, it's a bigger force, bigger threat. bigger dynamics, yes. >> so when it comes to whether or not we communicate with iraq, i'm not suggest wing ing with d
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deal with iran and say we will give you a nuclear weapon if you help us. is it fair to say the reality is that exists today, talking to iran about security issues on the ground probably makes some sense? >> i agree. you know there have been some sideline conversations. >> if we start flying airplanes, it makes some sense to talk to they will and tell us what we are doing so they don't shoot us down and we don't bomb them. that's the reality as i see it. they are up to no if. i don't want to seed iraq to iran but i don't want to blunder the situation and not think this thing through. i will talk to anybody who will help our people. we are where we are. afghanistan, on a scale from one to ten, if we pull out of our
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troops out by the end of 2016, general dempsey, what's the likelihood of what happened in iraq being like afghanistan. one being unlikely, ten being highly likely. >> i think based on the reports that i received on the development of nsf i will do it in thirds. unlikely. >> what percentage of the iraqi -- and i will take two minutes as everybody else. as what percentage of the afghan security forces are made up of southern pastoons. >> i don't -- >> it's less than 6 or 7%. that's just a reality just like the iraqi army was seen as a shia army by shunies. i think the reality of this
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happening is at 8 to 10. do you think the most prudent discussion would be don't let it happen even if it's 1 in 3. do you think we should revisit leaving a residual force behind because the afghans will accept it, won't they. >> i think there is already built in a residual force. the question is at what size? >> about 2016 we're down to an embassy force. >> with an office of security operation. >> yeah, a couple of hundred people. would you recommend the president reconsider his decision to go down to a couple hundred people by 2016 in afghanistan and a lot of iraq and wouldn't the prudent thing to do to be to say yes? >> what i will commit to is assuring you that as we watch this new government form and the siltation evolve, i will make appropriate recommendations to the president. >> okay. pakistan is a neighbor to afghanistan, right. >> correct. >> do you worry if afghanistan falls apart like iraq, one of
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the collateral damages could be restabilizing a nuclear armed pakistan. >> i do. >> so given that possibility -- they want us to stay, the afghans. the two new candidates for president would sign a new bilateral agreement. >> they have said they would sign the bilateral agreement. >> they have told me they would accept troops. if you don't do that that's very disheartening because i have asked them both. finally this guy on the ship, is he being held under the law of war. are we doing lawful interrogation of this man. >> katol is under the control of the department of justice. >> is he being questioned by intelligen intelligence gathering. >> i'd prefer to answer that in a classified setting. >> thank you all for your service. >> good morning general dempsey. nice to see you again mr.
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secretary. i would have a little dialogue with you informally. what is your assessment of size of isil. i spoke to the iraqi ambassador yesterday afternoon and his estimate is about 20,000. 10,000 being isil. the 10,000 being various sunni extremist and tribal members plus what he called passport fighters coming into the area. what do you assess the size and how far are they from baghdad at this time? >> well, without getting into classified matters, i will tell you that if you think about isil, they are located in about three places, eastern syria. they have a wing that is operating in fallujah and a wing operating in northern iraq. i think that the ambassadors
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estimates are probably high. the actual number, the only place i've seen it is in classified information so i wouldn't want to say it here. here is what i will tell you senator. isil is almost undistinguishable right now from the other groups you have mentioned. in other words, in this cauldron of northern iraq, you have jrtn, former bathists, you have groups that have been angry with the government of baghdad for sometime. as isil has come. they have partnered. i suspect it's a partnership of convenience. there's probably an opportunity to separate them. that's why the numbers are a little hard to pin down. >> okay. they are disbursed. it's difficult to establish a target, i understand all of that. but it seems to be that you've got two things here. you've got the milt yitary stray that iraq had asked for air
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power. would you recommend that? >> well, what i would recommend is anytime we use u.s. military force, we use it for those things that are in our national interests. once i'm assured we can use it responsibly and effectively. so as we've been working to provide options to the president, that's the standard. as i mentioned, these forces are very much intermingled. it's not as easy as looking at an iphone video of a convoy and immediately striking it. i will give you one vignette to demonstrate that. i have a conversation way occurrwith a kurdish colleague from years past. he explained to me that isil had taken over an iraqi base so in the course of 36 hours we had iraqi army unites, we had isil and then we had the peshmirga in
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that same facility. until we can actually clarify this intelligence picture, the options will continue to be built and developed and refined. the intelligence picture made more accurate. and then the president can make a decision. >> well you're known as a very thoughtful person. i appreciate that. it seems to many that you have to have the military response and you have to have the political response. i think ma most of us that have followed this are really convinced that the maliki government candidly has got to go if you want any reconciliation. if you want a shia, sunni war, that's where we're going in my view right now. if you want partition, that's where we are going right now. the question comes.reconciliatit
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do you do. >> it seems to me that maliki has to be convinced that it is in the greatest interest of his country to retire and for this newly elected government to put together a new government. what is the administration thinking or your thinking on that subject as much as you can discuss because that's the one place where iran can be of help if they want to. >> i'm afraid, senator, that's not a military question. i would -- i'm not trying to toss it to my wing man here but i'm not sure -- but i can't answer that. >> wing man you're up. the high honor, indeed, general dempsey's wing man. a couple of things. first, let's start with formation of a new government as you had noted. the courts in iraq this week certified the election of late april. so that is now put in -- on the path to formation new
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government. i happen to believe and i think the president has said it, that a political solution is the only viable solution. i said before you came in, senator in response to one of the questions that one of the reasons i believe that iraq is in this situation is because the current government never fulfilled the commitments it made to bring together a unit power sharing government with the sunnis and the shia, and the kurds. i think that's generally accept. what do we do about it now? the state department has the lead on all of this as you know and general dempsey said our ambassador in iraq has been in daily touch with the prime minister and the leaders, the political leaders as well as secretary kerry has been personal involved in this. i know the vice president has. they are pursuing that political
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process. at the same time, we are providing, have been providing the president with different options from our perspective, the intelligence community is trying to inform all of this for the president to assess what we've got and where this may be going. i think general dempsey's point about that we are still clarifying what we have and what the situation is. options like air strike, as the president said, he's not ruled in or out but there has to be a reason for those. there has to be an objective. where do you go with those? what does it do to move the effort down the road for a political solution. the issue of whether maliki should step aside or not, that's an iraqi decision and something we do not get into. all of these channels are being worked right now and have been in the last week.
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>> good. well, let me ask a military question then. according to the special ig on iraq, we have spent $25 billion to train and equip iraqi security forces from the start of the war in 2003 until september, 2012. in your estimation, general, why did the iraqi security forces perform so badly and what does this portend for afghanistan? >> well, they didn't universally perform badly. they performed badly in the north and and around mosal where isil had gained a foot held and convinced some of the sunni elements -- >> but that wasn't just a few of them. it was 10s of thousands. >> no, i understand that. isil turned their leaders. in the absence of leaders of a military formation, the soldiers are not going to stick around
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and wait to see what whap happe isil was able to coopt the leaders. >> when ways building the iraqi security forces from 2005 to 2007. several things were clear to me. we could train them to fight. we could eyquip them to fight. it would be harder to give them the logistical and significant gnat architectures. but we do. the hardest thing of all is to build leaders and then to have those leaders supported by a central government that is working on behalf of all the people. that's why those units in the north collapsed. to your question about -- by the way there are still -- many of the iraqi security forces, multiconfessional not just one sect or another that are standing or fighting. but the entire enterprise is at risk as long as this political situation is in such flux. let me answer your question about afghanistan. much different place.
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i think a much better prospect for a unit government based on this recent election. there are, of course, i do have concerns about the future of afghanistan. we will continue to do what we can to build into them the kind of resilience that we can build into a security force. at the end of the day, a security force is only as good as the instrument that wields it. that's the central government. >> i really appreciate that. i mean, one of the things that i have looked at on intelligence is the taliban there and the shadow government there and the amount of land controlled by the taliban where people live. i think it sets up a very serious situation for the future. i'm particularly worried about them coming back and what this does for women and the shria
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law. i have watched women huddled and standing in line to vote. i thought if the taliban comes back, it's just terrible. 11 year and we're right where we started in the very beginning. could you comment on -- i went to north korea and you see our troops still there decades later. you begin to understand, you begin to understand what it takes. i don't know senator graham mentioned, well, would you be for another secure agreement where you could send in troops. but i really worry about the sophistication of the afghani army. could you comment on that?
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will they stand? do they have the leadership? do they have the will? >> i will tell you this, the afghans are better fighters, far more tenacious fighters than their iraqi counterparts. that's -- that is both reason for optimism and reason for concern because there is a history of them fighting each other as well as external threats. to your question of will, they do have will while they remain optimistic for their future. as you know, afghanistan today, the country is a far different country than it was in 2002 in terms of women's rights, connectivity, education, access to health care. if those continue to progress, than i would suggest to you that afghanistan will stay on a path. i have no doubt that there will be parts of afghanistan that
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from time to time, because of their history, do separate themselves from the central government. the question than becomes, what will the central government do to address it. they are far different countries. i would caution us to compare one to the other and assume that afghanistan will follow the path of iraq. far different. >> thank you, that's helpful. >> thank you senator finestein. senator collins. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. secretary, welcome. >> thank you. >> it has been nine weeks since nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from their school by the terrorist group boko haram in nigeria. i believe the united states should have provided immediate surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence assets to locate these girls before they were split up into more difficult to find, smaller groups. i further believe that
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contingency plans should have been made so that our special forces who perform so extraordinarily well as we saw during this past weekend with their capture of the terrorists who let the benghazi attack, should have been on the ground, working with the nigerian forces to plan a rescue of these girls. mr. secretary, with each passing day, the future of these girls grows more and more precarious. there's no doubt that some of them have already been forced into early marriages, others have been taken across the border and sold into slavery. all have been required to convert to islam, according to the video that we've all seen.
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yet it feels like these girls have been forgotten, pushed off the front pages by a string of endless crises. i've made my concerns known to the administration in several venues about my disappointment that we did not act sooner and more aggressively to help rescue these girls working with the nigerians. could you tell me -- my question for you is, is this an urgent priority? what is going on now? senator, i can assure you this president feels exactly the same as you do as we all do as you have framed it up and laid out the tragedy of this, the urjency of this. let me also address your
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questions about why wasn't there more action quicker. first as you know, we cannot just drop into a sovereign country without that country's government asking us for assistance. that country, nigeria, has an elected government with a president. so we were preparing, once we heard and knew what was going on, also working with them diplomatically, to get a request from them for each of the resources that we were able to provide and still are providing. that's one. second, capability of the nigerian forces to be able to carry out what we can give them in the way of intelligence or assistance is still their responsibility. they have limited capabilities. now, i know that's not a good
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answer but that's the reality. we are as focused today on helping locate these girls, doing everything we can to get them out of there but this is a sovereign nation. we require, obviously like any other situation, the government to ask us to come in. they give us the limits and the parameters on where we can operate, how we can operate. the other part of this to, as you know, is this is about terrainwise, as complicated a part of the world as there is. they have triple -- quadruple canopy jungle. they move them around. they are deadly smart guys, boko haram. so we're up against that as well. so unless the chairman would like to add anything to this, that would be any general assessment. make no mirs stestake, senator, president is as committed to
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this -- even though you don't read it in the front pages as you mentioned, they are involved and we are assisting. >> well, time is ticking away, as with each passing days, the chances of these girls being reunited with their families grows ever dimmer. the fact is the nigerians did say yes. i realize necessithey didn't sa immediately. it seems to me we should have had a plan so what when they said yes, we could swoop right in. >> well, we did as much as they would led us do. >> well, i just want to assure you senator, we didn't wait for the nigerians to ask or respond to our question. the military under the secretary's leadership began positioning resources when we saw this koccurring. i do want to bring us back to this budget hering. we are around the world where we are because we can be and we can
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respond. it may not have been adequate to this task but we are certainly adequate to a lot of tasks. that capability is eroding while we sit here. >> well, let me switch to another issue but let me first just say that i specifically asked whether there was contingency planning for special forces to go in and was told that there was not. so i'm glad to hear you contradict that but that is not the answer that i was -- >> let me distinguish between moving assets in the event that we are given permission to use them and contingency planning and also, senator, the operation, though it may have looked rather routine, it took us months of preparation and intelligence soak. >> that's exactly my point. i mean from day one, i think we should have been working on this. i know how met iculous and difficult a operation that our
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special forces is involved in is. that's sort of part of my frustration. let me -- because time is slipping away, turn to the issue, general that you mentioned. that is the budget constraints and the impact of sequestration. it is surely significant that one of the first actions that the president took in response to the crisis in iraq was to send an aircraft carrier to the persian golf. it is our navy that allows us to project power. i am very concerned by secretary hagel's written testimony in which he notes that the indiscriminate budget cuts of sequestration would result in the loss of employment air craft carrier. delay the procurement of a submarine and slash the service
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fleet by ten ships. i would note that our goal of now 303 ship navy is not near as the combatant commanders say that we need. i see you're nodding in agreement. secretary of the navy ray mavis testified before us earlier this week that sequestration may also result in breaking the multi-year contracts for ships which has the effect of raising the cost of the ships and giving us fewer ships. it's particularly troubling for our national security strategy because all ten ships in the ddg 51 multi-year procurement contract through 2017 and ten ships of the virginia class submarine program are clearly essential.
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general, do you agree with secretary mavis' assessment that we will not be able to meet our national security requirements and that we will end up paying more per ship and thus, getting fewer ships if we do not deal with sequestration? i do. the same problem exists in the other services as well. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator collins. senator murray. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. secretary, general dempsey. thank you all for being here. i'm extremely concerned by the recent developments in iraq. the islamic state in iraq and syria have reportedly captured large amounts of money in weapons from the large territory in iraq and syria. they are active in. they are reportedly committing human rights violations. and potentially restabilizing to our partners in the middle east.
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importantly they threaten the u.s. and our interests. i know the president has said he's considering a wide range of options in response. i'm glad he's not talking about putting direct combat troops on the ground. what i wanted to ask you today are our iraqi forces capable of pushing the insurgents back. >> i've got a little time under my belt with the iraqi suecurit forces. one of the things that we got to learn but are working to learn it and we don't though yet is what is left of the iraqi security forces? they seem to be holding a line that roughly runs from baka va north of bag dad over to do fallujah. we also know that there's been some augmentation of the iraqi security forces by militia. so, you know, among the options we're considering is whether in fact we would try to do an assessment of what's actually defending baghdad at this point. that's an important question. >> so it's impossible to ask
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what assistance they would need until you do that assessment? >> there are some things we know where they will require assistance. isr, we've seen a great deal of manned and unmanned isr to try to gain clarity on what exactly is occurring. there's some things we need to know about what actually is the fabric of the iraqi security forces. >> okay. secretary hagel, i wanted to ask you. you talked at length about the services. we will have to make significant cuts in personnel. i'm very concerned about transition and employment about those who are leaving the military. that's why we made the transition assistance program mandatory on the valis act and made some reforms to help service members transition and find employment. i want to ask you how you have worked with other agencies to prepare now for the increasing numbers of service member who's will be separating and needing
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that transition assistance? >> senator, it's a very, very high priority for obvious reasons. as i said before, we create the veteran and than we hand the veteran off. the program that yos that you m and congress initiated and fund and continue to fund are incredibly important for us as we help shape these men and women who will leave the services and this goes into every dimension of their future whether it's health care, retirement, job preparation, job opportunities. so it becomes -- has become -- will continue to be as important a part of our responsibilities as there is from the time they enter service, the commitment we make to them, all the way through. so i'm committed, personally, the general is. all of our chiefs are. the entire establishment dod to do that. >> it's an slightly important that we stay focused on that. >> we will. to second your question about
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are we working closely with the inner agencies? absolute absolutely. on monday i had another conversation with the acting secretary of veterans affairs. we are meeting again next week. that's one example but all the agencies because we've got to bring value added to all the resources and how we are doing this. >> we spend a considerable amount of money training these people. we need to make sure that we use their skills when they leave. so, secretary hagel, i also wanted to ask you about the special victims council. i'm really pleased that they impleaed the number of officials who require srervice. i am concerned that we may need more attorneys to meet the need. i wanted to ask you how many
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additional svcs and funding do they need to keep up with the victims of sexual assault. >> i don't know. i will take it for the record on this specific numbers and money and -- >> if you could get that information back to me. also, a break down of spending on the special victims counsel's programs including the $25 million i requested in last year's defense appropriations. if you could respond back to me on that, i'd appreciate it. >> we will. we will get it back to you very quickly. >> finally, secretary hagel, as you know the integrated disability evaluation system has been a concern of mine for a very long time. we saw a major problem in my home state with service members mental health diagnosises being inappropriately changed and there have been many more problems. i am continuing to hear from service members who are stuck in the system for a very long time. they are not getting support from the department and they are getting incorrect evaluations. so i want to know, what lessons
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have you learned from the implementation of ides and what reforms are you now considering? >> first as you know we've had a team out in the region va centers in your state helping them and assisting them as we integrate this. on the specific request regarding us, d owod, i'm not satisfied where we are. i just had a meeting in my office on friday about this specific thing. by wait it wasn't just to prepare for the hearing. we needed to do more and pick it up. i asked them specifically. they are going to get back to me by the end of this week. i will give you you a very detail response to your questions. i said i need to know. you give me a list of what you want me to do to break through what you think you're not getting done because your bureaucracy, whatever it is. i said do we need more help? do we need more people? do we need more money, technologile? >> what did they tell you?
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>> they will be back to me with a report by the end of this week. i'd love to share it with you. >> i'd very much like to see this. we've been talking about this forever. it continues to be a problem. >> i will share it all with you. >> i have the same concern. >> thank you very much. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator murray. thank you very much. mr. secretary, back to budget issues for a minute. many of the recommendations by the administration in the new budget relate to the pay and benefits of those serving in the military and retirees. did you do or did the administration do a survey of men and women in the military and retirees to determine what they consider to be the most valuable benefits they are currently receiving and those of lowest value? >> let me ask our comptroller to the specifics of the answers to the question. let me start with a general
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answer. first, the presentation that we made as i say in my writtence statement in my detail in the budget was based on considerable analysis from all of our chiefs. the chairman will want to say something about this i'm sure. all the information we could gather, we asked the chiefs, the services, the same question you just asked me. you come bab ck to me and tell what you think we need to do. one of the first things that i it when i got over there about a year and a half ago, i said -- as i do all the time. i met with the chiefs. we went through the series of what do they need? what do they need to get prepared for? that was a question because all the chiefs understand it better than anyone. as senator graham said, 50% of our budget goes to these kinds of issues. that continues to escalate. we know we're on a track we can't sustain. it's like entitlement programs so we're doing all of that. >> i understand premise. i was trying to understand
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formulation of our response. >> let me ask the chairman for how we got from services to enter your question. >> let me assure you. we spent a year on this with monthly meetings with the gcs. in the interim, we looked at both direct and indirect compensation so pay and benefits on one side. commissaries, pxs on the other. those are indirect compensation. we put together -- believe me, it wasn't -- i had no role in it but we put together a computer program that you could take service men and women at a particular grade and you could show the effect on various changes in pay and compensation and hed and health care benefits direct and indirect with exquisite precisi precision. we've got all of that data. when we had all of that data, then we decided what we would need to do to account for the
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budget reductions but also to bring our cost over time under control. we came up with this package. the analysis is extraordinarily sound. >> let me give into specifics. first a recommendation to you. tell you where you could save some money to the benefit of all the active military and their families. put an end to this subsidizing of four profit colleges and universities. they are overcharging these families an the military twice the tuition of schools like the university of maryland which for decades has offered great sources to the military. these for profit schools calling can themselves name like the american military universities are ripping off the government and service men and women. i suggest we need stricter policies in how they solicit members of the military to sign up for what turns out in many cases to be worthless. mr. secretary, what is the
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smoking policy in the pentagon. well, we don't smoke in the pentagon. >> let me ask you a secretary question. do you sell tobacco products in the pentagon. >> we do in the pentagon in our -- by the way -- let me see if i can jump ahead. you've been there. you know we have different stores down in the basement, retail stores. let me judgment mp ahead with t bigger issue here. i ordered review of all of our tobacco, this is part of our health based initiative. all of our tobacco sales anywhere throughout the enterprise. the navy already has some places, they don't sell it in pxs commissaries. they don't allow smoking on submarines and looking now at not even smoking on ships. i've asked for a complete review on recommendations from our services on this specific policy but it's bigger than just selling it at the pentagon. >> so let me suggest, it's been reported that we spend $1.6
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billion a year on medical care of service members from tobacco related disease and loss of work. $1.6 billion. >> that's accurate. >> we should also know that the rate of smoking among the military is twenty% higher than the average american population. the rate of use of smokeless tobacco more than 400% higher than the average population. one out of three members of the military who use tobacco today said they started after they enlisted why? >> well, we make it easy. we make it easy because for some reason the department of defense decided to put in a discount for tobacco so not only when you buy it at the exchange do you get some breaks in terms of local taxes and state taxes that aren't collected on the tobacco product. there's a required 5% discount. it may be the best bargain that
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the military sells to its men and women in uniform. tobacco. good god. at this point in our history how can this be a fact? i'm glad you're doing this. i hope you'll hurry it along. >> the chairman may want to respond. >> i just want to make sure senator that the joint chiefs want to have a voice in this decision. we lead an uncommon life by choice but all the things you're talking about are legal and they are accessible and anything that makes anything less convenient and more expensive for our men and women in uniform given everything they are asked to do i've got concerns about it. i'm open-minded for review but i want you to understand that the chiefs will have to have a voice because of the effect on the force. >> i think that's valid. can you start your roo view with the following premise. tobacco is the only product legally sold in america today
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which if used according to manufactures directions will kill you. >> i accept that. my father died of cancer and i'm a cancer servivor not from tobacco but it is legal. that is an issue for the broader congress of the united states not uniquely for the united states military. >> i understand if it's legal that we rationalize that we could smoke right here. the pentagon decided not to. we are trying to set an example that if our men and women in uniform had longer and healthier lives should be a policy that we should follow. >> senator collins. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. i want to associate with the comment about discounts for tobacco products is something that has to go. i would be happy to work with
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you on it. general dempsey, many experts have said that had we left a residual force in iraq, a nato force of which american troops would have been a part, that isis would not have been able to make the gains that it made nor would it have attempted to make those gains. do you agree with that. >> well, as you recall, senator, we actually recommended, our military advice was that we needed to remain partnered with the iraqi security forces longer. so i stand by that recommendation. i was part of it years ago. the size of it was being negotiated but i was very much of the mind that we needed to partner with them for some period of time. remember our partnership was on the basis of increasing their tactical capability, logistics
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capability to be able to budget and be a responsible. the problem is that the government has not acted responsibly. i don't know if the presence of u.s. personnel would have changed the outcome. >> but you stand by your recommendation that there should have been residual force. obviously you felt that necessary to train and equip the iraqi forces and to ensure stability, and to develop their leaders to understand what it means to lead in a democracy but also recall that i also said that in the absence of a status of forces agreement that i wouldn't personally want to send america's sons and daughters to iraq. we didn't get a status of forces agreeme
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